Monday, December 18, 2017

Lone Fox Dancing

Books are gateways to idyllic journeys into far-off worlds. They are expeditions of indulgence, for in undertaking such voyages, one is transported to enchanting places and multitudes of emotions. And, as indulgent I am in such gleeful delights, which is, I suppose, the supreme pleasure, of most bibliotaphs, oftentimes, I find myself buying more books than I can possibly consume.

So, one morning, on a whim, and to fight off a gripping sense of inertia that has overrun me lately, I went about to rummage my stockpile (not a 'collection,' since I haven't graduated to such an exalted stature, nor I possibly will), to find myself staring at the 'Lone Fox Dancing' - The Autobiography of Ruskin Bond, a treasure I had acquired not so long so.

To say that the prose was eclectic would be an act of self-aggrandizement and arrogance on my part (for I possess no skills or qualifications to review such a prodigy). But, say it, I nevertheless will, for that is how this master chronicler has woven his account.

Not so long after, I trudged about on winding paths in the misty hills on which stood tall pine and deodar. Overcome by a deep sense of nostalgia (of times from my own childhood spent in the hills of Ooty), I began to understand the ways of a man who had trounced the oft-inescapable (and enforced) notion of a regular life - to search for freedom, for deliverance, to undertake a peregrination of his longing - 'to put pen to paper', as he called it. It wasn't fanciful or lucrative. Far from it, actually. Steeped in strain and struggle, it conveyed the unbounded eagerness of a man resolved to do what he loved. Not that he envisioned it would take him any place. I suppose he didn't care for the outcomes as much as he was enthralled by the machinations of his life and the blissful wilderness that he was so purposefully ensconced in. I doubt he cares even now.

Bond's account is not macerated with his literary pursuits. While there are rich portrayals of that endeavour, the book is much larger than that effort. It is life itself, the comings and goings of people, the rich description of deep, personal emotions associated with such occurrences, some pleasant, others acerbic. It is a work of outstanding artistry that quite effortlessly articulates the mind of a reticent man (in which, being quite withdrawn myself, I found reassuring comfort and tenderness)

In the end, which came about much sooner than I had expected, I was left feeling joyful and troubled - The first for obvious reasons, while the latter for having finished the book all too soon!

But, deep within my being will remain etched forever those snow-capped hills, bungalows from a distant past, coniferous trees, the taste of tangy apricots, and the astounding views from a window that opens to the mountains.

Long may the lone fox dance! 


  1. hi Rakesh! it's so nice when you find a book that really speaks to you isn't it? (and it's wonderful to see your blog updated)

    looking forward to more! :))

    1. It absolutely is a delight, BCD! Cannot feel happier than what one feels when reading a book which, as you so rightly said, speaks to you! Joyful. And, thank you so much for your comments. Truly motivating. Very happy to return!

  2. You sound really wonderful about the book, and I could understand the impact it created in you so that you come up with a post. I think this book will fascinate me as well since I am passion about hills and good to read your inspiring write up after long back

    Keep going Rakesh!

    1. I had a wonderful time reading this book, Jeevan. In many ways, deep down, I could relate to everything that Bond wrote in it - It felt, in so many ways, a story of my own life and times, though I'm so far away from this exalted soul. You must try and read it yourself, and I'm sure you will absolutely love it. Thank you very much!